Friday, February 15, 2008

Cindy Sheehan and the Islamists

Late yesterday afternoon, the Associated Press ran a story that immediately caught my attention. Anti-war radical Cindy Sheehan has taken her demonstration road show overseas once again. You may recall that she previously cavorted with Venezuela’s anti-American dictator Hugo Chavez. Now, she is evidently in Cairo, Egypt. I’m sure she will find time to see the sights, like the Great Pyramid of Giza, but the purpose of her trip was to demonstrate her solidarity with Islamic extremists.

According to the Associated Press report, Sheehan joined “50 heavily veiled wives and children of 40 senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood” to protest outside of the office of Egypt’s first lady, Suzanne Mubarak. Sheehan told reporters, “I am here to protest the trial of civilians in front of a military tribunal as this is a violation to international law. As a mother of a son who was killed in the war, I presented a letter to Ms. Suzanne Mubarak to realize how those women and children are suffering.”

I really want to be sympathetic to the mother of one of our soldiers who gave his life for our country. Out of Christian charity, I will assume that there is some terrible psychosis at work here, something akin to the Stockholm Syndrome. But for those who don’t know, the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist front group that one expert described as the “parent organization of Hamas and Al Qaeda.” The Egyptian government has been fighting the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1940s and officially banned the organization in 1954. It has, however, in recent years made a comeback as a political party, but its agenda has not changed. Instead of taking power by force, it now tries to subvert the political process to achieve the same goal: the imposition of an Islamic state in an Egypt ruled by Sharia law. Among its members was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda terrorist who orchestrated the atrocities of September 11th.

That Cindy Sheehan would protest in support of the Muslim Brotherhood is unconscionable. The Muslim Brotherhood is indistinguishable from the thugs who attacked us on September 11th and those who killed her own son. Her common sense has been utterly consumed by her grief, and her actions now border on sedition.

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Baliunas Says Global Warming Related To Sun
Staff Photo by Jaime R. Carrero
Astrophycist Dr. Sally Bulinas speaks to members of the press before her conference about Global warming and the Sun's interaction with the Earth's environment.
In her lecture series, "Warming Up to the Truth: The Real Story About Climate Change," astrophysicist Dr. Sallie Baliunas shared her findings Tuesday at the University of Texas at Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Dr. Baliunas' work with fellow Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astronomer Willie Soon suggests global warming is more directly related to solar variability than to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, an alternative view to what's been widely publicized in the mainstream media.

"Some people argue solar influence is large; some argue it is small. I'm somewhere in the middle," she said during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Her research goes back to time periods when the amount of carbon emission was small enough that it wasn't a major player.

"If you go back far enough you eliminate some of your variables," she said. "I've always been interested with the changes of the sun and how they impact the earth. I decided to look at a narrower time scale this time."

Baliunas asserts that increases and decreases in solar output led to historically warmer and cooler periods.

Baliunas said concerns for world energy poverty should be more significant than worrying about something 100 years from now.

"I'm all for saving energy resources and eradicating energy poverty around the world," she said. "One can be concerned by the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and come to it from the philosophical idea of caution. We just don't want to take the chance; still we can take a view of precaution."

She also said civilizations have always looked for the cause of climate changes.

In 16th and 17th century Europe, thousands were executed for what was called "weather cooking," where religious and political institutions blamed witches - mostly women - for poor growing periods or storms.

Dr. Baliunas received her M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1980) degrees in Astrophysics from Harvard University. She serves as senior scientist at the George C. Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C., and chairs the Institute's Science Advisory Board.



Analysis: NATO keeps eye on China
by Andrei Chang
Hong Kong (UPI) Feb 8, 2007

NATO is closely watching China's military expansion, with an attitude of rising concern and wariness. Led by the United States, NATO members are starting to view China as a possible emerging common adversary.

In June 2007 the Stockholm Peace Research Institute of Sweden claimed in a published report that China's military spending had overtaken that of Russia by a very large margin. U.S. defense officials have expressed concern over the lack of transparency in China's military budget and the purpose behind some of its weapons acquisitions.

In light of these concerns, chances are very slim that the European Union will lift its arms embargo on China this year; in fact, the embargo may remain in effect for a long time to come.

At the Paris Air Show and other major European exhibitions of military equipment, major arms manufacturers from Germany and France have shown little interest in the Chinese market; they are not pressuring the EU to lift the embargo on China.

French and Italian arms manufacturers learned their lessons through brief attempts at cooperation with China in the 1980s. Not only did these efforts yield little profit, but the companies found their technologies had been stolen and replicated by the Chinese.

The United States and Japan are behind a plan to strategically isolate China, which has been very successful so far. Both Tokyo and Washington believe that the scale, pace and strategic intent of China's arms expansion in recent years are far beyond its needs for a future conflict in the Taiwan Strait. They see China posing an immense challenge, over a much broader area, against the United States, Japan, NATO and even India. China's latest moves to construct an aircraft carrier and build new nuclear-powered submarines are specific examples of this challenge.

Why is NATO planning to locate ballistic missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic? The United States managed to convince NATO that China's intercontinental ballistic missiles may pose a threat to NATO members' territory. These facilities would not only be directed at Russia, according to multiple military sources within NATO countries.

On several occasions, the United States has replaced China with North Korea as the potential target of missiles from Eastern European bases. But why should Europe and NATO be on guard against non-existent intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea? In fact, the bases are related to the fact that NATO views China as a potential threat and an unstable factor that directly influences its security.

Generally speaking, the strategic friction between China and NATO is related to the following factors: First, China's military is expanding at a pace unmatched by any other country in the world, and China's strategic arsenals, including its ICBMs and SLBMs, can easily reach the territories of all NATO member countries. China is one of the few major countries that have the capability to pose a direct military threat to NATO members, and yet China's military expansion is nontransparent and restricted by no international treaties.

Second, China's construction of an aircraft carrier and other large-tonnage surface battleships suggests that China will directly challenge the interests of NATO countries in the Pacific Ocean and in the Indian Ocean as well. This includes the interests of the United States and Canada.

Thirdly, China's rising military, political and economic prowess in central Asia and Afghanistan is also in conflict with NATO's frontline strategies in the region. Several reports published in the United States have claimed that 90 percent of the weapons used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan are from China. Moreover, China has close political, military and diplomatic ties with those countries that are considered "rogue nations" by the United States and NATO, for instance, Iran and Syria.

In particular, Iran's ballistic missiles are considered the most practical and direct threat to NATO territories, giving NATO an excuse to develop its own ballistic missile defense program and for the United States to deploy anti-ballistic missile systems in Eastern Europe. In fact, China has been the key source of Iran's arms over the years.

Lastly, Chinese intelligence agents are also a threat to the interests of NATO countries. NATO has the world's most cutting-edge technologies, and Chinese spies have been quite active in all NATO countries and even in Russia. A top official from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service openly acknowledged recently that the agency devoted more than half its personnel and material resources to dealing with these Chinese operatives.

How does China look at NATO's reassessment of its China policy? An internal Chinese document on the country's diplomatic relations talks about its policies on the European Union and NATO. A fundamental focus of the arguments in the document is that China should take advantage of NATO's "internal contradictions" and attempt to divide the alliance.

A large section of this document is devoted to a discussion of EU and NATO members' concerns about U.S. "unilateralism," claiming that the disappearance of a common adversary has led to the rise of internal differences. The document says that since the end of the Cold War, NATO's role as the hub of European and U.S. security has weakened, and Europe and the United States now have fewer common political objectives as a result.

The course of development in international affairs has meant that, due to their respective democratic political systems, changes of governments in the United States and within NATO member countries has also meant adjustments in their foreign policies. Nonetheless, because of their shared values, race and close cultural heritage, the United States and Europe still have some common goals, particularly in the fight against terrorism, preventing the rise of "rogue nations" in specific regions and guarding against the threats of Russia and China. The consensus of the United States and Europe on the issue of Iran's nuclear program is a best representation of such common strategic interests.

The Chinese document also claims that the European populace has generally lost confidence in the United States, and that relationships between the leaders of Germany, France and the United States have cooled. The author of the document believes that there is no close coordination between Europe and the United States on the Balkan and Afghanistan issues, nor have they formulated common policies on Russia and China.

The document concludes that China should actively strive to strengthen China-Europe economic and trade relations. China should not only continue its efforts to strengthen its strategic partnership with France, but should also reinforce its ties with Germany and Eastern European countries.

"Countries such as France and Germany do not like the United States to dictate what they should do. The United States has always tried to use NATO to interfere in affairs around the world, which is in fact to use NATO to serve the interests of the United States. Without France and Germany, Europe could have become a handy tool of the United States long ago," reads the Chinese analysis.

The document recommends that China reinforce its relations with the European Union to minimize the impact of the U.S. strategic squeeze upon China, and to win solid support from the European Union in a wide range of areas including the Taiwan issue, technology transfers and the lifting of the arms embargo. China's strategy of using Germany and France to create divisions between the United States and Europe has been a frequent topic of discussion in articles published by the Chinese media.

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